You may have heard by now, the Astros have a superstar outfield prospect.
In AAA, he has absolutely demolished the ball, with a OPS over 1.200 across 200+plate appearances, hitting home runs at a Barry Bonds-esque pace of 1 every 9.6 AB. But he’s not just a pure power hitter, he’s hitting for average, getting a hit more than once every 3 AB, good for a .356 Batting Average.
Pitcher’s fear his bat, and rightfully so, and he’s kept a discerning eye, bringing his OBP all the way up to .433, and his SLUG up to .782!
If he was to replicate those 200+ PA for a full 162 game season this would be his line:
.356/.433/.782 with 61 HR, 47 2B, 10 3B, 158 RBI in 688 AB!!!!! That’s an 1.215 OPS
You may notice that he’s not just hitting for power, but he has some wheels indicated by not only the mechanical projection of 47 2B but 10 3B. He’s actually maximized his value on the base paths, stealing 12 Bases - only being caught once (92.3% success rate), which would mechanically project out to a 40 steal season!
(Mechanical Projections are simply current rate of occurrence * 162 games)
For those of you wondering, no I’m not talking about the Astros recent phenom Yordan Alvarez, I’m talking about Kyle Tucker, the forgotten** prospect.
**Forgotten is probably an unfair term considering he’s ranked the #12 prospect by Baseball America, #8 by MLB, #14 by Baseball Prospectus, and #10 by Fangraphs.**
Last year, Kyle Tucker had his first taste of the majors and the perception is that he struggled mightily. What got lost in the mix was that his BABIP was .176 (5th lowest of any player with 70+ PA) indicating it may have been poor luck. xwOBA also supports that he was extremely unlucky as his .323 xwOBA was in a different stratosphere than his wOBA of .207. The differential between his expected results vs. what occurred was the largest by baseball by a significant margin! He struck out less than 20% of the time and still walked 8%+ ... None the less - all of that is ancient history.
Lost in the overwhelming prospect love for The Havana Hammer - Yordan Alvarez, Tucker has actually had a very similar year since May 2nd.
Yordan Alvarez - .343/.443/.742 - 1.184 OPS - 253 PA
Kyle Tucker .356/.433/.782 - 1.215 OPS- 204 PA
I think that stat line will shock a lot of people, Tucker had a horrible start to the season- presumably working on corrections the Astros identified, but since then has actually outhit Alvarez. There are some caveats in regards to the ball-parks, and none of this is meant to take away from the ridiculous year that Alvarez has had, but simply to remind everyone - Tucker has arguably been better, especially when you take in consideration his defense in a tougher position and value on the base paths.